for weather and communications
install a fixed mount vhf radio and an antenna
as high up as you can get it. the coast guard can talk to you all the way across to bimini for safety
and you will get vhf weather reports at least most if not all of the way. total cost about $200.
for navigation, the very first thing you should do is buy the EXPLORER CHARTS for the area - i think the one you are interested in is called 'near bahamas'. don't buy any other charts. these are the best charts ever produced for this area - ask anyone. cost is about $50.
for a gps, get a handheld. a simple one like the garmin 72 will give you latitude and longitude, speed, course, and bearing to destination
. with that and the EXPLORER CHARTS you should have no problem knowing where you are and where you're going. cost is abou $150, but watch for sales.
you can also get an advanced handheld like the garmin colorado or garmin oregon
, and they include a computerized version of the EXPLORER CHARTS built in to the gps. but they're a bit more complicated to use. these cost about $300 or $400.
so for about $400 you've got weather, communications
, and navigation. of course you already have a ships compass
that you've checked for accuracy. buy everything now so you will have time to install the radio and antenna, read through the chart book, and learn to use the gps.
wait for a good weather window and go. there are a number of good cheap marinas
in bimini. prices in bimini are generally less than in other islands of the bahamas. it's a nice island to visit for a week or so.
and if you somehow completely screw up your navigation, just turn west and keep going till you're back in florida
. you might be able to miss an island in the bahamas but it's pretty hard to miss the east coast
of the u.s.a.....